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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Odisha police recovers bodies of tribal couple killed over witchcraft suspicion

The couple’s bodies were tied with heavy stones and dropped off in the waters. They were killed by a group of people with blows of scythe over suspicions of practicing black magic, the police said.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2019 19:35 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
The couple was allegedly murdered over accusations of the woman practicing witchcraft in Odisha.
The couple was allegedly murdered over accusations of the woman practicing witchcraft in Odisha.(HT file photo)
         

Odisha police on Wednesday recovered the bodies of an elderly tribal couple of Mayurbhanj district who were allegedly murdered over accusations of the woman practicing witchcraft.

Police officials in Mayurbhanj said they recovered the bloated bodies of Sitaram Singh (62) and his wife Leth Singh (55) from the waters of Sone Dam in Kaptipada area. “The bodies were tied with heavy stones and dropped off in the waters. They were killed by a group of people with blows of scythe over suspicions of practicing black magic,” said sub divisional police officer Swapna Ranjan Mohapatra.

Police said they have arrested accused Lag Ho over his involvement in the case. But main accused and others are still at large.

The tribal couple had left their house in Sitaramsahi under Kaptipada police station area to watch a football match in neighbouring Chitraamba village on Sunday. “The couple were supposed to be back home by afternoon. But when they did not come back, their relatives started searching for them and lodged a police complaint,” said Mohapatra.

Police later found bloodstained shirt of Sitaram and broken bangles of his wife from nearby forest.

Police said accused Ho was angry with the couple performing a puja in their home on August 30 which was construed as a case of black magic. “Leth Singh was brutally assaulted by the people from the village who suspected her to be practicing black magic. We had to rescue her from a murderous mob,” said a police official.

There has been a spate of murders and assaults relating to witchcraft over last month in Odisha.

In September, police in tribal-dominated Bolangir district had arrested four persons for the murder of two elderly persons over suspicions of them practicing witchcraft. Chintamani Bariha (55) and his wife Rukmini Bariha (50) of Chiktamal village of Bolangir were first tried in a Kangaroo court by the accused over allegations of them practicing black magic, and subsequently battered to death.

Last week, police in coastal Ganjam district had arrested 34 persons over allegations of forcing six elderly Dalit persons to consume human excreta and pulling out their teeth with pliers. The accused persons suspected the elderly men of practising witchcraft that allegedly caused the death of at least three women and sickness of seven others in the locality.

In July, three members of a tribal family in tribal-dominated Nabarangpur district were made to put their hands into a pot of boiling water mixed with cow dung by their relatives, who accused them of practising sorcery.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 19:35 IST

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